Archives March 2014

Multi-Platform Remote Control Software – Splashtop 2

I’ve been using Splashtop since last Summer, and most especially since LogMeIn dropped their free service but was surprised that I never got round to speaking of it. This is (to date) the best Remote Control app available, and is completely multiplatform, so that Macs and PCs (and Ubuntu Linux Machines, which is a pity as I use Debian) can be connected to over the network (Wired or WiFi) for free.

I did spend £2.99 on their Access Anywhere Pack which means that I can connect to machines over the Internet, but this is a good low (annual) cost, I reckon and nothing like the £20 a month that LogMeIn wanted to charge for (frankly) less.

2014-03-26 08.08.37

Once you have the Streamer Client on your Mac/PC, it shows up on the list and you can control it remotely from another PC or from a tablet/phone. You can then do whatever you want to as if you were at that machine. In most circumstances, that means dropping a file off the sever onto dropbox so you can pick it up at a meeting. This has been my main use of it, either that or fixing my Mother’s computer remotely.

2014-03-26 08.14.57

On a tablet, there are a number of display modes which make use easier – you can tap around it like a little mouse, or use like I do usually and go into “trackpad” mode, which has a couple of soft mouse buttons overlaid as you can see above. You can easily call up an android keyboard for text input and even swap the screen you are viewing – this is the laptop screen, but you can just swap it to the “projector” screen and see what is there, which is excellent to use as a wireless remote monitor when I am celebrating at the altar and want to see what is behind me…

There is a very small timelag, but I don’t really find this a problem. For most display purposes, even over 3g,, this is fine. They claim you can stream movies to your tablet with it, and I certainly have done with little lag or problem; I have also streamed audio files from the machine  downstairs to my tablet upstairs very effectively.

I tried to illustrate this here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AevCEHismOQ

This is their promo video:

Have a go – the personal version is free, or a small cost for the Access Anywhere pack greatly helps when you are anywhere where you need remote access.

 


Real-Life Product Review: Fujitsu Stylistic M532 Android Tablet

Whenever I search for product reviews, I find a deluge of sites which parrot the manufacturers press releases and are filled with statistics and specifications but no context: information arrives from data + context and usually all you get is data. It is therefore my desire to write honest reviews about the products I use based on what I use them for. Some of these uses and applications might be highly individual to me, others more common; but I am a power user of some technical ability and this review should provide you with some insight into the key question “will this product do what I want it to do?”

I managed to get hold of this 10.1 inch Fujitsu tablet secondhand, although it was a recent tablet; thus saving a considerable amount of money. It is billed as a business  level tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. I can only guess that it wasn’t suitable for the first owner, as the box was complete so it clearly wasn’t stolen! It originally came with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but the upgrade via a PC was very straightforward and pretty much the first thing I did with it. It wasn’t an OTA (over the air) upgrade so you had to restart it pressing the volume and power buttons which can be fiddly and then select the upgrade option. This doesn’t faze me at all, but I couldn’t imagine my mother doing it.

I can’t really tell the difference between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean to be honest, but maybe that is because my other (and main use tablet) is the 7 inch Google Nexus 7 which now runs 4.2 KitKat and has possibly the best user interface available (far nicer than any fruit-based products that might be available). Jelly Bean lags behind this curve but is functional. As a 10.1 inch tablet, this machine is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet of paper but is large enough to make pleasant reading. The screen is quite clear, although not as high definition as the Nexus 7, which boasts a Retina-level display and a ludicrous amount of pixels per inch. This is adequate and movies, text and images are very clear.

The weight of the tablet is very fair, and holding it in my left hand for extended periods of time as I preach or lead worship was not a problem.

Battery life appears good, but the very worst feature of the tablet is the charger: although there is a mini-USB port on the side, you cannot charge from it – there is a dedicated charger using a nonstandard connector. This is a pain and means that the charger has to come away with me on day trips to London as I cannot just rely on charging from the same charger that I am forced to carry for my phone. Why on earth should they do this? Everything is micro-USB these days! The position of this interface on the bottom is a pain as well, as I am not going to shell out £70 on a custom docking station (even if it does provide an HDMI port) so to charge it I put the tablet on my (poundland) tablet stand (and how much did that cost you, I hear you ask..)  upside down.

Built into this quad-core tablet is 32gb of memory, and it has a micro-SHDC card slot, so you can stick plenty of distracting movies on the card for the journey home. Performance is great, although slightly lower than the outstanding Nexus 7. I can play both simple and graphically complex games (Carmageddon is an old-skool favourite) and it performs well using core (for me) applications: Kingsoft Office, Twitter, Facebook and the like.

My workflow involves extensive use of Evernote, and Dropbox: liturgies and homilies are created on a PC, sometimes collaboratively and saved to common Dropbox folders. I pick these up on my tablet and lead worship from them. In my part of Plymouth, internet connectivity is intermittent and so I often save these to a local folder before use, but occasionally, other texts and the like need to be accessed live and this is both efficient and effective using this tablet.

The M532 comes with 3G capabilities, although I don’t really need this as I have an unlimited data contract and can tether on my phone. I have tried my full size SIM in the tablet and have got speeds of up to HSDPA  which is as fast as you can get before 4G becomes realistic. If this was a key factor for you, then a payg sim with GiffGaff would sort you out: £7.50 for 1Gb which is very good. You can text from the tablet, although I have not found a way for the dialler to work so you cannot use it as a phone, which is a pity. Skype works pretty well on it, but I worry that providers like GiffGaff would get shirty if you bought one of their £12 goody bags which provide unlimited data and don’t use the phone part – I wonder if they could tell?

The Camera is good: this is the rear camera (excuse the reflection from the train window)

2014-03-11 09.39.13

And this is the front one – lower resolution but you only really want it for Skype as I don’t want to do (many) Selfies…

2014-03-11 09.39.22

There is no case supplied, and as it isn’t as popular as those fruit-based tablets, there isn’t many cases designed just for the M532. I tried a generic one and didn’t like it, but as it only cost me a fiver from eBay, i wasn’t that upset. Currently I am using a Poundland neoprene case which works very well and using the tablet naked. It has a Gorilla Glass screen and apparently has some Military grade rating so it would appear to be quite tough. Fingermarks are however, very visible.

I like the red edging to the tablet and it matches my red Fujitsu laptop, so for once I have something stylish and integrated. It is a quality build and feels professional.

One of the main things I needed a 10 inch tablet for was as an altar monitor: to be able to see what was on the projector screen which is usually behind me. For this, I use Splashtop: a remote control app which streams a PC (or Mac) screen to your tablet or other PC – it is great for dialling into my Mum’s to remotely fix her problems and also to show the second screen of an easy worship presentation. This means that wirelessly, I can put this on the altar and see what is being me. I can also run a Prezi directly from the tablet and control the laptop (usually at the back of the assembly) from my hand. Its not quite so good as a proper remote but you get to see what is on screen and don’t have to keep turning round, which looks less professional. The performance of the tablet in this is excellent and I have even connected to a PC at home over 3G, put a file into Dropbox and picked it up on my tablet for almost immediate use! Brilliant!

So, is it a good tabletyes: it meets my needs and might meet yours.

What’s good about it – performance, storage, 3G, quality build.

What isn’t so good – charger and connector, no KitKat yet so OS needs improvement


Liturgy for Mothering Sunday All Age Mass

Please use, adapt and improve as you wish…

Introit Hymn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sba9cHv9TG8

Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

My dear friends in Christ, welcome, for we come together as the people of God this Mothering Sunday as people of all ages. We gather to hear God’s holy word and to receive his holy sacraments.

Each Mothering Sunday, we remind ourselves of three important sources of care and love: firstly, Our Blessed Lady, whose devotion and care of Our Lord is an inspiration and model to us all; secondly Holy Mother Church, which provides us all with shelter and welcome when we are in needs and reflects our joy and celebration when we are in the good times, and lastly, those who care for us and love us within our families.

One of the natures of God is as our Heavenly Father, but elsewhere in scripture, God is also described as a Mother, who succours his beloved children on his lap (Isaiah 66:12-13) and as a Mother Hen, protecting his chicks under her wing (Matthew 23:27).

But we recognise that sometimes we do not always do what is right by God, and so we come to say sorry to God, seeking his forgiveness.

Penitential Rite (Saying Sorry to God)

Just like lost sheep we have gone astray
Done bad things and run away
So we come to say sorry
Make things better as you see
Loving Jesus make anew
Our lives so we can be like you.

Absolution

May God who loved the world so much
that he sent his Son to be our Saviour
+forgive us our sins
and make us holy to serve him in the world,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know, so you really ought to show it,
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands

Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so you really ought to show it
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet

If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
When you say that you are sorry, you no longer have to worry
God takes away your sin, so say “Amen”. Amen!

Collect (Said)

God of Compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and in sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

Reading: Colossians 3:12-17

The Reading comes from one of the Letters of Saint Paul

Dear Friends,
Don’t forget that God wants to get to know you,
because he loves you.
But you must help each other
to know how much God loves you ‘
by singing his songs. And remember!
When you sing these songs, say ‘thank you’ to God
for he is your Father in heaven

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Gradual Hymn

=http://youtu.be/wEknV6elFgY

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices
My God forever he will be,
bless his holy name.

He looks upon me his servant,
Looks on me in my lowliness.
He works marvels for me,
hence forth all ages call me blessed,
call me blessed.

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices
My God forever he will be,
bless his holy name.

He scatters the proud hearted,
cast the mighty from their thrones.
His mighty arm before me,
in strength he raises the lowly,
raises the lowly.

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices
My God forever he will be,
bless his holy name.

He fills the starving with plenty,
but empty sends the rich away.
From age to age his mercy,
the mercy promised us forever,
promised forever.

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices
My God forever he will be,
bless his holy name.

Gospel: John 19:25-27

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Hear the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
Glory to you, O Lord

When Jesus was on the cross, his mother stood beside him, and her sister was there as well, and Mary of Magdala.

Jesus looked at his mother,
and he looked at John, his best friend,
who was standing beside her,
and he said,

‘Mother, John will take care of you
as if he was your own son.’
Then he said to John, ‘I know she will be like a mother to you.’

And when Jesus had died, John took Mary home to stay with him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Homily / Craft

Creed

(to the tune of Frere Jacques)

God our Father, God our Mother
We believe, we believe
who created all things, who created all things
Earth and sea, stars and me.

Christ our Saviour, Christ our Saviour
We believe, we believe
Lived and died and risen, lived and died and risen
You and me, set us free.

Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit
We believe, we believe
Moving here among us, moving here among us
God right here, near as near.

Three in one, three in one
One in three, one in three
God revealing all things, God revealing all things
Dancing free, trinity.

Intercessions

As children of a loving God who always listens to our cries,
let us pray to our Father in heaven.

God of love,
hear our prayer.

Loving God, you have given us the right to be called children of God. Help us to show your love in our homes that they may be places of love, security and truth.

God of love,
hear our prayer.

Loving God, Jesus, your Son, was born into the family of Mary and Joseph; bless all parents and all who care for children; strengthen those families living under stress and may your love be known where no human love is found.

God of love,
hear our prayer.

Loving God, we thank you for the family of the Church. We pray that all may find in her their true home; that the lonely, the marginalized, the rejected may be welcomed and loved in the name of Jesus.

God of love,
hear our prayer.

Loving God, as we see the brokenness of our world we pray for healing among the nations; for food where there is hunger; for freedom where there is oppression; for joy where there is pain; that your love may bring peace to all your children.

God of love,
hear our prayer.

Uniting all our prayers with Angels, Saints, Prophets and the whole company of heaven, we offer them in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord
Amen

Peace

Through the prophet Isaiah, God says,
‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.’
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.

Let us offer one another that sign of peace

Offertory Hymn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yKLbGr2D2s

We place upon your table a gleaming cloth of white
the weaving of our stories, the fabric of our lives;
the dreams of those before us, the ancient hopeful cries
the promise of our future: our needing and our nurture
lie here before our eyes.

We come to your feast, we come to your feast:
the young and the old, the frightened, the bold,
the greatest and the least.
We come to your feast, we come to your feast
with the fruits of our lands and the work of our hands,
we come to your feast.

We place upon your table a humble loaf of bread:
the gift of field and hillside, the grain by which we’re fed;
we come to taste the presence of him on whom we feed,
to strengthen and connect us, to challenge and correct us,
to love in word and deed.

We place upon your table a simple cup of wine:
the fruit of human labour, the gift of sun and vine;
We come to taste the presence of him we claim as Lord,
His dying and His living, His leading and His giving,
His love in cup outpoured.

We gather round your table, we pause within our quest,
we stand beside our neighbours, we name the stranger “guest”.
The feast is spread before us, you bid us come and dine:
in blessing we’ll uncover, in sharing we’ll discover
your substance and your sign.

Offertory Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made, it will become for us, the bread of life.
Blessed be God forever!

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God forever!

Pray, my dear friends, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his church.

Lord God, we bring you these gifts of your
creation, so you may transform them, as you transform us by your love.
Amen

Eucharistic Prayer (Kum By Yah)

The Lord is here right now
His spirit with us

Lift up your hearts to him
We lift them up

It’s the right thing to do
Yes, Jesus
Oh yes, we come in prayer

Thank you, God our Father.
You made us to live for you and for each other.
We can see and speak to one another,
and become friends,
and share our joys and sorrows.

And so, Father, we gladly thank you with every one who believes in you; with the saints and the angels, we rejoice and praise you, saying:

Holy, Holy Lord, O Holy God
Our prayers are joined
By all the Saints
Blessed is the one
Who comes in peace
Blessed is the Prince of Peace

Yes, Lord, you are holy;
you are kind to us and to all people, for this we thank you.

We thank you above all for your Son, Jesus Christ.
You sent him into this world
because people had turned away from you
and no longer loved each other.

He opened our eyes and our hearts
to understand that we are brothers and sisters
and that you are Father of us all.
He now brings us together to one table and asks us to do what he did.

Father, we ask you to bless these gifts of bread and wine and make them holy. Change them for us into the body + and blood of Jesus Christ, your Son.

On the night before he died for us,
he had supper for the last time with his disciples.
He took bread and gave you thanks.
He broke the bread and gave it to his friends, saying:

Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this to remember me

In the same way he took a cup of wine.
He gave you thanks
and handed the cup to his disciples, saying:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood,
the new promise of God’s unfailing love.
Do this to remember me.

God our Father,
we remember with joy that Jesus died to save us.
In this holy sacrifice,
which he gave as a gift to his Church,
we remember his death and resurrection.

Father in heaven,
accept us together with your beloved Son.
He willingly died for us,
but you raised him to life again.

We thank you and say:
Glory to God in the highest!

Jesus now lives with you in glory, but he is also here on earth, among us.

We thank you and say:
Glory to God in the highest

One day he will come in glory
and in his kingdom
there will be no more suffering,
no more tears, no more sadness.

We thank you and say:
Glory to God in the highest

Father in heaven, you have called us
to receive the body and blood of Christ at this
Table and to be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Through this sacred meal give us strength to please you more and more.

Lord, our God, remember all those who care for us,
and those who look to us for care.
Help all who follow Jesus to work for peace and to bring happiness to others.
Bring us all at last together with
Mary, the Mother of God, St Edward, St Anne, St Cecilia and all the saints,
to live with you and to be one with Christ in heaven.

Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever.

Amen, Amen
Let it be so,
Amen, Amen
Let it be so,
Amen, Amen
We say this now,
Amen, O yes, Amen!

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who
trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
for ever and ever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, Lamb of God
You take away, the sin of the world
Have mercy on us, Lamb of God
Don’t let us stray away from the flock
You take away the sin of the world
So grant us peace

Come and eat, come and drink
You’re welcome here, come quite near
Share in his body and blood with us
It tastes like wine and bread but just
Know that inside it’s not quite thus
Share the food of God.

Invitation

This is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those who are called to his supper
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Communion Music

Post Communion Prayer

Loving God, as a mother feeds her children at the breast, you feed us in this sacrament with the food and drink of eternal life: help us who have tasted your goodness to grow in grace within the household of faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Notices

Prayer for Mothers and Distribution of Flowers

Praise God who loves us.
Praise God who cares.

Children may lead the following responsory

For the care of mothers and all those who have cared for us,
living & gathered to God;
Thanks be to God.

For their patience when tested;
Thanks be to God.

For their love when tired;
Thanks be to God.

For their hope when despairing;
Thanks be to God.

For their service without limit;
Thanks be to God.

At the end of the distribution of flowers we all say this prayer.

Thank you God for the love of our mothers:
thank you God for their care and concern;
thank you God for the joys they have shared with us;
thank you God for the pains they have borne for us;
thank you God for all that they give us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessing

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Bow your heads and pray for God’s Blessing

May the Lord now +bless you
And keep you all safe
Send you out from here
In a state of grace
Take what we have learned
About Jesus our King
And do what he has taught us
To make the world a better thing.

Go, the Mass has ended
But our service has begun
We heard it straight from Jesus
What it means to live as one
With him now up in heaven
Looking from above
Blessing us in all our work
Let’s go and share his love.

The Mass is ended, go in the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God

Recessional Hymn

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
in God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his Name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age to same;
his holy Name–the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by.
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!

END


Homily: Lent 3 – John 4:5-42

Text: John 4:5-42

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

At a time of year when we have just had snow, hail, frost and cold, it seems a little odd to remind you of times of drought, but knowing the competence of our water companies these days, we know that drought of some kind is never too far away, and perhaps the first hosepipe ban is due next week!

Real drought is very different: when your land is reduced to mere dust, the plants upon which you depend to feed your family shrivel and wither away and your cattle and your children become more invisible by the day. Drought is still a reality for much of the world, and our globally-warmed comfort should not distract us from the reality of what goes on beyond our shores.

Even when there is water to be found, it is often channelled towards cash crops and food that the rich West demands (at pitiful, unfairly traded prices) rather than subsistence for the people who actually work the land. This stark reality of the inhumanity of economics and geography can also be a metaphor for us of the spiritual desert: where in our lives there may be an aridness, a dry separation from the life-giving refreshment of God, or there may be adequate supplies of God’s love around, but which is channelled into inappropriate uses.

Christ lived in a land that was chronically dry. Imagining life in a drought-stricken land might help us identify with the people who lived in the Holy Land during Jesus’ time. They recognized how critical water is for life-especially when there is not enough — or when it is difficult to obtain. We identify with them as we remember how good water tastes when we are thirsty. When we are dry — really dry — there is nothing like a drink of cool, clear water. Using that truth, Our Lord gives us a spiritual lesson based on the common image of water for a thirsty person.

Today’s Gospel story takes us to an unlikely setting – we find Our Lord in a foreign region, Samaria, face to face with a local woman at Jacob’s well. The scene is one of two people who would be very unlikely to strike up a relationship in the normal course of events-a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman, religious enemies, two strangers of the opposite sex, alone together. This was an unusual event, even in public, at a time and in a place where there was a cultural taboo against women and men speaking if they did not know each other.

So when Our Lord asked the woman to give him a drink of water from the well, she was naturally startled, and asked, “How is it that you a Jewish man are asking me, a Samaritan women, to give you a drink?” Ignoring the question, Our Lord employed his metaphor: “if you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying it to you, you would have asked and been given living water.”

The confused woman, thinking he meant fresh water from a spring, replied something about Jacob’s well not having any such water and wondered where Christ would get “living water.”

Our Lord continued with the spiritual imagery, saying:

“Everyone who drinks of this water [from Jacob’s well will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.” Still thinking literally, the woman said she’d sure like to have some of that water because it was difficult to draw water from the well.

As the story continues, however, we discover that the woman of Samaria has a deep thirst of a different kind — a spiritual one. Her life had not been good — she had married five times and the marriages had ended either in divorce or with the death of her spouse; each event had no doubt been devastating. Now she was living in an unmarried relationship, a difficult situation in that time and place.

When the woman finally discovered who Our Lord was and what he had to offer, he took her spiritual thirst and connected it with the life-giving spiritual water that only God can provide. That same power and truth is available to us as well. God provides refreshment for our spiritual thirsts.

There are certainly times when everyone is thirsty in spirit, when spiritual drought makes us especially desperate for the water that can give life to our spirits. These are the thirsty times when life seems shallow and without purpose, or when we can find no peace of mind inside a confused soul, or when doubt or fear paralyses us or when anxiety seems to tear us apart. These are times of a deep dryness of the soul.

For such times, Our Lord offers us what he offered the Samaritan woman. We can have it, too, if we share with her a thirst for acceptance and forgiveness and love for our parched lives.

The season of Lent is a time of self-imposed drought that can help remind us that our deepest thirst can mark a time for God’s spirit to become active in our lives.

Our Lord bids us come to his living water. Calls us to him, for he knows we thirst for acceptance in a desert of rejection, that we thirst for forgiveness in the parched land of our sins, and that we thirst for hope in the dry despair of our frustrations.

For us, as for the Samaritan woman, there comes, into the drought of life, the life-giving water of Christ, the one who also pours his love and grace into every crack and crevice of the dried and broken ground of our spirits.

To each of us who comes to him in hope of living water, for spiritual refreshment, For Christ not only gives us more than an ordinary drink, he offers us a spring of living water that can run deep inside each of us as an ever-refreshing source that can see us through the hard times of drought and direct us to the meaning that can be found only in truth of God.

Amen.


Wedding Hymn to the tune of "Lord of the Dance"

Screenshot 2014-03-14 11.24.33

Karen asks for a new hymn for weddings to “Lord of the Dance” (or more accurately perhaps the old Shaker Hymn “T’is a gift to be simple”)

I hope this kicks off a collaborative process – first verse and chorus:

We come together to witness love
These two people joined by Above
We see in them
a spring of care
Spreading wide, both here and there

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

Make this better… and add more verses!


Hymns and Readings for your wedding

This is a small document containing suitable pieces of music for use in Church (especially coming in, during the signing of the registers and coming out of Church), suitable hymns and both scriptural readings as well as non-scriptural poems and reflections which work well in a Church wedding service.

You can download this as a pdf from here

Hymns & Readings for your Wedding

Choosing your hymns:

The hymns you sing at your wedding are your choice! The list that follows are some of those more often used, but you are not limited to these and there may be other hymns, readings or poems you prefer.

Most people like to choose hymns they know. This usually means they know the tune, and many hymns can be sung to different tunes. The important consideration is the words. Do the words of the hymn say what you want to say about your marriage? Worry about the tunes later! The first 3 are special wedding hymns set to well-known tunes.

Normally you would choose 3 hymns, though sometimes 2 or 4 are appropriate.

The clergy are always willing to help and advise in the choice of hymns. The priest conducting your service will want to discuss your choice of hymns with you a few months before the service. Most people find 5 or 6 they would like and then narrow it down to the required number when they talk in detail about the service. Remember that you are responsible for providing the words for the congregation to sing. Sometimes this can be done by using the church hymn books but not all the hymns are in the one hymn-book. Quite often couples provide a special service paper for their guests. Discuss the format of these with the clergy before you have them printed.

Music normally used at the entry of the Bride

1 BRIDAL MARCH Wagner
2 FINALE FROM ROYAL FIREWORKS Handel
3 ODE TO JOY (Symphony No 9) Beethoven
4 TRUMPET TUNE Charpentier
5 CORO FROM THE WATER MUSIC Handel
6 TRUMPET AIR AND INTERLUDE Vann
7 RONDEAU Purcell
8 MARCH FROM THE OCCASIONAL ORATORIO Handel
9 MARCH FROM SCIPIO Handel

Music which can be used on entry or departure

10 TRUMPET TUNE Purcell
11 TRUMPET VOLUNTARY Clarke
12 WAR MARCH OF THE PRIESTS Mendelssohn
13 GRAND MARCH FROM AIDA Verdi
14 TUBA TUNE Lang
15 TRUMPET VOLUNTARY Stanley
16 CANON IN D Pachelbel

Music normally used at the end of the Service

17 WEDDING MARCH Mendelssohn
18 TOCCATA Widor
19 ARRIVAL OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA Handel
20 THE WATER MUSIC Handel
21 NUN DANKET ALLE GOTT Karg-Elert
22 HORNPIPE Rawsthome
23 ALLA MARCIA Ireland
24 SORTIE III Lefebere~Wely

You can always use YouTube to hear all this music and these hymns once again.

Hymns

To the tune of “Jerusalem”
1
We gather here, we gather now,
drawn by the love we know and share.
We come to celebrate in our joy
the union of this special pair.
To them our hearts reach out with love,
on them the light of heav’n above
shines down in grace abundant and free
to bless them both eternally.

And we who join to wish them well,
offer them both our love and pray’r
that they may walk in fullness of life
the journey they have come to share.
That they may know if storms come near
that they have friends and fam’ly here
for we commit ourselves to pray
and love and cherish them each day

To the tune of “I vow to thee my country”
2
These vows of love are taken,
as rings of love received,
we witness here among us a mystery believed:
that in God’s holy presence a union has begun
and these your precious children
have now become as one.
For the things of earth and heaven
draw closer as we pray,
and in heav’n the angels celebrate with us
on earth today.

For all our many blessings
we offer thanks and praise,
for gifts of love and fellowship
our thankful hearts we raise.
God’s hand has held us safely and
brought us to this day,
God has guided and protected
and taught us on the way.
For the love we learn on earth
is the love we’ll find in heav’n
and the human love we celebrate
is love that God has giv’n.

To the tune of “Morning has broken”
3
God of all living,
Father, we praise you,
Full of Thanksgiving,
For so much love;
Now in this wedding,
Come down among us,
Pour out your blessing,
Heavenly dove.

With love’s true splendour,
Father, delight us,
Each giving honour,
With faithfulness;
And may the sharing,
Of this sweet union
Deepen our caring,
With tenderness.

May there be children,
Fruit of our loving,
True men and women,
With faith beside;
Grant us your keeping
In all our future,
Your love caressing
Bridegroom and bride.

4
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
His the sceptre, his the throne;
alleluia! His the triumph,
his the victory alone:
hark! The songs of peaceful Sion
thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of every nation
hath redeemed us by his blood.

Alleluia! Not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
alleluia! He is near us,
faith believes, nor questions how:
though the cloud from sight received him,
when the forty days were o’er,
shall our hearts forget his promise,
“I am with you evermore”?
Alleluia! Bread of angels,
thou on earth our food, our stay;
alleluia! Here the sinful
flee to thee from day to day:
intercessor, friend of sinners,
earth’s redeemer, plead for me,
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia! King eternal,
thee the Lord of Lords we own;
alleluia! Born of Mary,
earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne:
thou within the veil hast entered,
robed in flesh, our great high priest;
thou on earth both priest and victim
in the Eucharistic feast.

5
At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
king of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty word.

At his voice creation
sprang at once to sight,
all the angel faces,
all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations,
stars upon their way,
all the heavenly orders,
in their great array.

Name him, brothers, name him,
with love as strong as death,
but with awe and wonder
and with bated breath:
he is God the saviour,
he is Christ the Lord,
ever to be worshipped,
trusted, and adored.

In your hearts enthrone him
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true:
crown him as your captain
in temptation’s hour;
let his will enfold you
in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus
shall return again,
with his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
king of glory now.

6
Come down, 0 love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
0 comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing:
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till he become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

7
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the stain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desires
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake wind and fire,
0 still small voice of calm.

8
Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wonderings be our guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

9
For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around as lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
to our race so freely given,
graces human and divine,
flowers of earth and buds of heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

For thy Church that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
this pure sacrifice of love:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our sacrifice of praise.

10
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
give me joy in my heart, I pray;
give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
keep me praising till the break of day.

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

Give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
give me peace in my heart, I pray;
give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
keep me loving till the break of day:

Give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
give me love in my heart, I pray;
give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
keep me serving till the break of day:

11
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
holy, holy, holy,! merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns
around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert and art and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy!
though the darkness hide thee, .
though the eye of sinful man
thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy, there is none beside thee
perfect in power, in love, and purity,

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!
All thy works shall praise
thy name in earth and sky and sea;
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed trinity.

12
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the ancient of days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, not wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains
of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: 0 help us to see
’tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

13
King of glory, king of peace, I will love thee;
and, that love may never cease, I will move thee.
Thou hast granted my request, thou hast heard me;
thou didst note my working breast,
thou hast spared me. Alleluia!
Wherefore with my utmost art , I will sing thee,
and the cream of all my heart , I will bring thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
thou didst clear me,
and alone, when they replied,
thou didst hear me. Alleluia!

Seven whole days, not one in seven,
I will praise thee;
In my heart, though not in heaven, I can raise thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort to enrol thee:
e’en eternity’s too short to extol thee. Alleluia!

14
Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
o’er the world’s tempestuous sea;
guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us,
for we have no help but thee;
yet possessing every blessing,
if our God our Father be.

Saviour, breathe forgiveness o’er us:
all our weakness thou dost know;
thou didst tread this earth before us,
thou didst feel its keenest woe;
lone and dreary, faint and weary,
through the desert thou didst go.

Spirit of our God, descending,
fill our hearts with heavenly joy,
love with every passion blending,
pleasure that can never cloy:
thus provided, pardoned, guided,
nothing can our peace destroy.

15
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike,
no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts,
Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts,
Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord,
at the end of the day.

16
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.

Jesu, thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.

Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never,
never more thy temple leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy host above;
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation:
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation,
perfectly restored in thee;

Changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

17
Make me a channel of your peace
where there is hatred let me bring your love;
where there is injury your pardon, Lord;
and where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my soul,

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope;
where there is darkness, only light;
and where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving to all men that we receive,
and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

18
O worship the king all glorious above;
o gratefully sing his power and his love;
our shield and defender, the ancient of days,
pavilioned in splendour and girded with praise.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
almighty, thy power hath founded of old;
hath ‘stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
and round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust and feeble as frail,
in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end!
Our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend.

O measureless might; ineffable love,
while angels delight to hymn thee above,
thy ransomed creation, though feeble their lays,
with true adoration shall sing to thy praise.

26
Praise, my soul, the king of heaven;
to his feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
who like me his praise should sing?
Praise him! Praise him!
Praise the everlasting king.

Praise him for his grace and favour
to our fathers in distress;
praise him still the same for ever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Praise him! Praise him!
Glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like, he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows;
in his hands he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Praise him! Praise him!
Widely as his mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore him;
ye behold him face to face;
sun and moon, bow down before him;
dwellers all in time and space.
Praise him! Praise him!
Praise with us the God of grace.

28
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Readings

Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6,7

My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.’

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

1 John 4.7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Philippians 4.4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 5.1-10

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
cont
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

John 15.9-17  

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’

Poems & Other Readings

Yes, I’ll Marry You

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch you see,
And you investigate.

Yes I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.

Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!

It’s you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT
it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!

Pam Ayres

Wedding Haiku

I promise to love
and will gladly honour you
but obey? no way!

Tracy Davidson

A reading from “the Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?” And he answered saying:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

The Art of Marriage

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens: A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things…

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you”
at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense
of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love
that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is finding room for the things of the spirit. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it s being the right partner. It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

Wilfred A. Peterson.

My Luve’s like a red, red rose

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!

Robert Burns

Marriage Joins Two People

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other.
It offers opportunities for sharing and growth
that no other relationship can equal.
It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships.
A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend,
confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic.
And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.

Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.
Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life
is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing
a love that is deeper than life.

When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer
than any spoken or written words.  Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Edmund O’Neill

What is love?

Love is just not looking at each other and saying
“You’re wonderful.” There are times when we are anything but wonderful. Love is looking out in the same direction, it is linking our strength to pull a common load, it is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand. Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares. Love is a strange awareness
that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing; that joys will be enriched and multiplied
by the joy of another. Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not  alone in life.

Walter Rinder

Eskimo Love Song

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.

Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.


Becalmed Bedazzled Bewitched Besotted…

I think all this Marriage Preparation is making me all soppy… 24 years this year.

 

Across the road,
I watched as you window shopped, bag in hand
And as people and cars rushed past, I stood motionless
as a boat
becalmed…

And at that party,
there was a strange aura that hovered around you,
but maybe it was just you, the cheap wine, and me
feeling
bedazzled…

And for weeks after that,
my every waking thought (when my mind was clear enough to think)
has been of you, leaving me
spellbound,
bewitched…

And now here we are,
nervous, on show and in clothes we’ll never wear again,
and I’m still staring at you,
totally
besotted.

Nick Williams


Sermon Notes: Lent 1 Year A – "I AM BAPTISED"

Text: Matthew 4:1-11

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

  • If I said we don’t like talking about sin on Ash Wednesday then how much less do we like to speak of the Devil.
    • In some churches the realty of evil has become such a problem that the rejection of evil and all rebellion against God that it can be safely removed from the baptism service, that core message sidelined into an optional extra. Not here.
    • But evil is real and present
    • For although I don’t necessarily hold on to the image of the devil as pointy horns and a tail and a pitchfork it can be sometimes useful to take all the evil in the world and to wrap it up and give it a label because if you label it then you can own and control it.
      • In Harry Potter the naming of the embodiment of evil is avoided ‘he who must not be named’ or ‘you know who’.
      • It is only young Harry and his mentor, Professor Dumbledore who is unafraid to name Voldemort and thus state that he has no extraordinary power.
      • Evil does not come in hideous form, but rather appears attractive and beguiling
        • Two of the most powerful portrayals of the devil in the cinema have been Robert de Nero and Al Pacino – suave, sophisticated, attractive and deadly – which is eaxtly what evil looks and feels like – to disguise evil as hideous makes it unattractive and who would be seduced by the unattractive?
        • The Tempter (as he is described in the Gospel of Matthew) does precisely that: he is a source of temptation to Jesus and to all of us because the temptations he tried to beguile Jesus with are the same the temptations he will try on us.
        • The tempter, the work of all evil in the world, seeks
          • To undermine our self esteem,
          • to question our identity and
          • to seek to supplant himself and all the corruption of evil in place of our relationship with God.

For example:

If you are the son of God / If you are a child of God…

He will try to adduce us to

  • Meet your physical needs first, look to your self
  • Test God and test those around you
  • Ignore your god given identity and turn away from him.
    • Each of these temptations seek to question or identity, as a person and as a child of God.
    • However we have a response which is as heartfelt as Jesus’s responses: I am baptised
    • It is significant that this temptation starts immediately after Jesus himself was baptised: from that identity the devil tries to undermine him.
      • Not I was baptised,
        • a past act which has no significance
        • but a present reality which is the ultimate defence against evil
        • Go Away  (in my mind, those words in the face of evil are a bit stronger but) go away, I am baptised, and the gates of hell will not and cannot prevail against me.
        • So when you are tempted, when dark doubts assail you in the words given to me by Dom Basil:

Trust Him when dark doubts assail you, Trust Him when your strength is small, Trust Him when to simply trust Him seems the hardest thing of all.

  • You can boldly stand before the face of evil and declare ‘I am baptised!
  • Against the dull murmur which seeks to undermine you – shout ‘I am baptised’
  • Against the loud shouts of condemnation, shout back ‘I am baptised’
  • Against the darkness which may threaten to engulf us in doubt about our identity, cry boldly ‘I am baptised!’
  • …and the temptation to turn from your purpose and vocation as a beloved child of God means nothing, for God is in all.
  • You are made in the image of God, and it is the never-ending purpose of the Tempter to tarnish that image
    • To make you forget that image
    • To make you feel guilt because you may have marred that image
    • To reduce your worth in the eyes of yourself or others
    • But we can shout back with vigour and confidence: “I AM BAPTISTED!”
    • …and Christ has won this for me, and it can never be diminished.
  • For you do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God
  • You have no need to put the Lord to the test, for you have every confidence what he has won for you in the Victory of the Cross
  • You therefore do not need to be distracted by the shiny things of this world, by money, power, sex or fame because the Lord your God offers everything that your soul desires.

For you have all, and you can proudly boast

“I AM BAPTISED”

Amen